Night markets in Singapore, also known as Pasar Malam, started since my childhood days in the 80s. It’s usually a weekly event where small stalls formed a stretch along the main roads in a neighbourhood. It’s a collection of food, clothes, toys, household items and even antiques selling at cheap or at least reasonable prices. Sometimes they do have an open fun fair (rides for the kids and even adults).
I still remember whenever there is a pasar malam around my area, I would want my parents to bring me there and during my primary to secondary school days, these stalls is a place where me and my friends hang out after school, walking along the makeshift stalls, buying snacks and drinks. Now I realized that there isn’t much fun in having pasar malams as I grow older, or is it because of the quality of the stuffs that they are selling now?
Now the size of pasar malams grew bigger compared to the past and they are situated on open fields in the neighbourhood instead they are housed under large tentage. These night markets usually last for a couple of weeks up to a month depending on the locations and events for example the recent Hari Raya period. The stalls in the market still remained roughly the same, for this one located in Hougang, there is a variety of stalls available. The ever popular handphone accessories stalls, stalls selling cheap clothes for all ages, bags and leather goods, plants, toys, household items and even fashion accessories like caps, shades and glasses. Not forgetting lots of food stalls lining up along the outer stretch of the market.
I can still remember those yummy foods like, Taiwanese sausages, nuggets, Tu-tu kuehs (a round-shaped traditional steamed rice flour or sweet snack filled with palm sugar, coconuts, peanuts and now even chocolate too).
They still have these foods available but the quality of the food really goes downhill. It’s not warm and feels like it’s been left there for many hours. I thought having the younger generation taking over these dying trades is commendable, but the tu-tu kueh that he made is nothing near good. It edible but seems like they lack the skill to do it. The flour is thick and the fillings, inconsiderable.
There are some new additions to the pasar malams now like Taiwanese snack, fusion food like Churros with different dipping, creative fried cookies with ice cream etc. Even a durian stall is found selling cheap durians for those who craved for it.
Oh even the yummy Japanese octopus ball is available here but be warned, even though Takopachi has ceased its operation in Singapore, these might not be able to curb your craving for it as the taste is far from it.
You still remember Uncle Ringo’s Fun fair? Where many rides and game stalls are available for us to play in the 80s? even though they still exists, the Uncle Ringo here is kind of sad with only 4 rides available and no one seems to be manning it and I’m not even sure if they are able to earn any profits from these.
So even with so many foods in my hand, none of it brings me back to the good old times of the Pasar Malam. Walking around it still brings back some memories and I’m afraid that this will be the last generation of pasar malams. What do you say? Will our grandchildren be able to enjoy it?